The Retina MacBook Pro Gets Thermal Mapped

The Retina MacBook Pro Gets Thermal Mapped

When Apple unveiled the new Retina MacBook Pros, one thing they really highlighted was the fact that, thanks to the new solid-state storage and assymetrical fans, the new MBP is the coolest, quietest MacBook Pro yet. That’s not hard to believe, but given how lap-meltingly hot previous MacBook Pros could get, it doesn’t really tell you how comfortable a new Retina MBP is going to be on your lap during a heavy workload. Heat maps to the rescue!

Japanese site IT Media was curious just how hot the new Retina MacBook Pro got, so they put it through a series of tests with a thermal camera. The results affirm Apple’s claims: these are cool machines indeed.

In the first test, IT Media measured how hot the Retina MacBook Pro ran in sleep mode: a cool 30.3 degrees Celsius, indistinguishable from a Retina MacBook Pro that has been completely shut down, with the fans running at an inaudible 30 decibels.

In the second test, IT Media measured how hot the MacBook Pro got after running a QuickTime movie for 15 minutes. Again, the temperature was low, only jumping slightly to 35.1 degrees.

Finally, IT Media decided to run two tests in which they pushed the Retina MacBook Pro to its limits. They ran Cinebench and other CPU-challenging apps, at which point, the Retina MacBook Pro reached a temperature of 48.2 degrees Celsius, with the fans kicking in to 46 decibels. This is about the point when the Retina MacBook Pro ceases to be comfortable for lap use, and should be placed on a desk.

The takeaway? For most uses, the Retina MacBook Pro runs nearly silently and cool as ice, but it’s still something of a toaster oven when it is pushed to its limits.

  • Tallest_Skil

    Fans don’t run in sleep mode…

  • Ungenio

    That’s not a photograph (thermal or otherwise) of a MacBook of any model. Just look at the awful key distribution

  • Gene

    Ungenio – that’s a MacBook Pro UK keyboard.

  • The_Network

    sure they do

  • The_Network

    put your macbook to sleep and then put it in a hot car and check it out.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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